The Rock River Valley Blood Center (RRVBC) has been called to support blood needs and relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Idalia as the eye of storm approaches the Gulf Coast of Florida.

As part of the organization’s role in the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC), RRVBC and 11 other blood center partners are on call this week to assist if blood donor centers in Florida are forced to close, or mass emergencies exceed or deplete local supply.

The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC) is composed of more than 26 blood centers from across the nation that have committed to collecting extra blood units on a rotating “on-call” schedule. The extra blood products will be held in reserve for any critical-need scenario, like a mass shooting or natural disaster.

RRVBC’s scheduled “on-call” weekend to assist falls on a vulnerable time for blood centers: Right before a holiday weekend. In addition to Labor Day weekend being a busy trauma time for local hospitals, the center typically loses 150 units of donated blood because of the holiday closure.

“We need 800 donated units of blood each week to keep up with the demand in Northern Illinois, and holiday weekends are always a challenge. Now, our neighbors on the Florida coast might need our help, too, so I want to call on everyone to step up in their time of need,” says Chief Executive Officer Lisa Entrikin. “The need for blood is in high demand so we need our community to please come in, donate, and then hopefully make blood donation a habit.”

To schedule a donation, click here, download the myRRVBC app or call 815-965-8751. Walk-ins are welcome.